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Posted: 12/21/2005 2:29:34 PM EDT
Wrongly Incarcerated Man Sues San Jose Police, Others
DAN REED
KNIGHT RIDDER via Knight Ridder


Wrongly accused, Rick Reinhardt spent nearly 10 months in a Santa Clara County jail charged with murder. Now he'd like some money for time served.

In a federal lawsuit filed last week, Reinhardt is suing just about everyone involved in his case of mistaken identity: the Santa Clara County District Attorney, the county itself, the San Jose Police Department and even the public defender's office, which succeeded in righting the wrong.

The Santa Clara County Counsel's office did not return a phone call Monday. City Attorney Rick Doyle said he would not comment because the city had not been served with the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says that on Feb. 22, 2004, somebody shot to death Pete Bianco and hid him under the car cover of his Corvette.

A friend, Laura Derrickson, went to check on him at his Maroel Drive home in San Jose with no luck. In a second visit, though, she and her husband Robert found Bianco's body in his garage.

On Feb. 29, 2004, police received an apparently helpful call from Robert Mays to the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line. It was Reinhardt who probably did it, Mays said, because he and Bianco were involved with the same woman. Police took the tip seriously, so much so that they began surveillance of Reinhardt's home.

On March 1, 2004, they executed a search warrant on Reinhardt's Redwood City cottage. Inside, they found a Browning semi-automatic pistol, keys to Bianco's home and methamphetamine, all under his mattress -- and all of which, it turns out, was planted there by Mays.

Mays admitted it later, and he abruptly stopped his trial early this month and pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. On Jan. 23, he will be sentenced to 50 years to life in prison.

The lawsuit says the San Jose police lied to entangle Reinhardt in the crime.

"At one point during the questioning," the lawsuit says, "the officers suggested to plaintiff that they had DNA evidence, an eyewitness, and video tape, all placing him at the scene of the crime. Even when presented with such persuasive, although false, evidence, plaintiff denied being at Bianco's home the day he was killed."

The case unraveled with the help of Melinda Hall, a deputy public defender assigned to Reinhardt.

She said she knew he was innocent and kept telling prosecutors the same. In time, the police started grilling Mays, and he confessed.

The lawsuit asks for no specific amount of money, but seeks "compensatory and general damages against all defendants."

Link Posted: 12/21/2005 2:36:36 PM EDT
Just sucks all the way around.
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 2:49:58 PM EDT
Great article, I wish it offered even a tid-bit of info on how Mays knew Reinhardt, or why Mays attempted to "frame" Reinhardt.

Not that that has anything to do with that situation........................
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 2:53:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery:
Great article, I wish it offered even a tid-bit of info on how Mays knew Reinhardt, or why Mays attempted to "frame" Reinhardt.




Or if Reinhard really was shagging the same woman as the victim. I think its unlikely this was a randompick by Mays. they likely all knew eachother.
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 3:07:19 PM EDT

the officers suggested to plaintiff that they had DNA evidence, an eyewitness, and video tape, all placing him at the scene of the crime.

I fondly miss the days when we expected the police to be honest and have integrity. Now we even how so-called conservatives here that say it's ok for the police to break the law and to lie.z
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 3:14:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By zoom:

the officers suggested to plaintiff that they had DNA evidence, an eyewitness, and video tape, all placing him at the scene of the crime.


I fondly miss the days when we expected the police to be honest and have integrity. Now we even how so-called conservatives here that say it's ok for the police to break the law and to lie.z



Go rent the original Dragnet movie sometime. Watch the interogation at the begining.

They have shifts of officers interogating a suspect. They tell him he won't be leaving, or sleeping until he confesses..................... That never happened before Miranda was required.

Where in the article does it say the police broke the law?

Next police, except in Florida, can use "imaginative license" to help the suspects remember.

Just like when 2 suspects are brough to the police station and questioned seperately, then the police tell each suspect individually his co-criminal is starting to confess...................... Is it wrong there?

Link Posted: 12/21/2005 3:18:21 PM EDT
How is this the fault of the police department? I mean I am all for holding them responsible for their fuck ups, but with all that evidence at his home it seemed pretty open and shut. If anybody should be sued, it should be Mays for pulling all that shit to begin with
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 3:32:44 PM EDT
Oh Andy..
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